To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal

To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal

To Heaven and Back: The True Story of a Doctor's Extraordinary Walk with God

by Mary C. Neal

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was held June 20, 2019, at 6:30 pm in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

Is there life after death? Is God real? Is there sufficient reason to live by faith? Dr. Mary Neal’s walk with God has been both ordinary and extraordinary, brimming with the gift and privilege of being touched by God in visible and very tangible ways. She is a practicing orthopedic surgeon, a wife, and a mother who has experienced joy as well as great sorrow and death. She experienced life after death and, despite her scientific training, she believes the answer to each one of these questions is a definitive yes. She drowned on a South American river and went to Heaven. She conversed with angels. She returned to Earth, in part, to tell her story to others and help them find their way back to God. In this book , Dr. Neal shares the captivating details of her life in which she has experienced not just one miracle, but many. Her story is both compelling and thought provoking. Her experiences provide confirmation that miracles still occur, shows how God keeps His promises and why there is sufficient reason to live by faith. Dr. Neal’s message is fundamentally one of hope.

The Teaching of Buddha

The Teaching of Buddha

The Teaching of Buddha

Anyone who has stayed in a hotel in Japan has probably seen a copy of The Teaching of Buddha. First published in 1925, the book was originally edited by Japanese scholars of Buddhism before WWII and distributed widely throughout Japan. The first English edition was published in 1934. The Reverend Dr. Yehan Numata brought out another English edition in 1962, and in 1966, after the establishment of the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK) (Society for the Promotion of Buddhism), Dr. Numata assembled a committee of Buddhist scholars to substantially revise and edit a new English-Japanese edition. The Teaching of Buddha has undergone minor revisions and numerous reprintings since. It is now available in more than forty-two languages and over 8 million copies have been distributed and placed in hotel rooms in over fifty countries throughout the world.

The Teaching of Buddha is a collection of writings on the essence of Buddhism, selected and edited from the vast Buddhist canon, presented in a concise, easy-to-read, and nonsectarian format. It also includes a brief history of Buddhism, a listing of the source texts, a glossary of Sanskrit terms, and an index.

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

by Thich Nhat Hanh

In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, now with added material and new insights, Thich Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddha’s teachings are accessible and applicable to our daily lives. With poetry and clarity, Nhat Hanh imparts comforting wisdom about the nature of suffering and its role in creating compassion, love, and joy—all qualities of enlightenment. Covering such significant teachings as the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Doors of Liberation, the Three Dharma Seals, and the Seven Factors of Awakening, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching is a radiant beacon on Buddhist thought for the initiated and uninitiated alike.

Kindfulness by Ajahn Brahm

Kindfulness by Ajahn Brahm

Kindfulness

by Ajahn Brahm

Go beyond mindfulness—practice kindfulness!

Here Ajahn Brahm introduces a new kind of meditation: kindfulness. Kindfulness is the cause of relaxation. It brings ease to the body, to the mind, and to the world. Kindfulness allows healing to happen. So don’t just be mindful, be kindful!

With his trademark knack for telling engaging stories paired with step-by-step anyone-can-do-it instructions, Brahm brings alive and makes accessible powerful tools of transformation. This slim, beautifully designed volume is a Quick Start guide for living a life of joy and compassion.

Music of Silence by David Steindl-Rast

Music of Silence by David Steindl-Rast

Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey Through the Hours of the Day

by David Steindl-Rast and Sharon Lebell
Music of Silence shows how to incorporate the sacred meaning of monastic living into everyday life by following the natural rhythm of the hours of the day. The book tells how mindfulness and prayer can reconnect us with the sources of joy.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★.

The Hymns of Zoroaster

The Hymns of Zoroaster

The Hymns of Zoroaster: A New Translation of the Most Ancient Sacred Texts of Iran

edited and translated by M. L. West

Zoroaster was one of the greatest and most radical religious reformers in the history of the world. The faith that he founded some 2600 years ago in a remote region of central Asia flourished to become the bedrock of a great empire as well as its official religion. Zoroastrianism is still practiced today in parts of India and Iran and in smaller communities elsewhere, where its adherents are known as Parsis. It has the distinction of being one of the most ancient religions in the world: only Hinduism can lay claim to greater antiquity. The foundation texts of this venerable system of belief are the founder’s own passionate poems, known as the Gathas (“Songs”), and a short ritual composed soon after his death, called the Liturgy in Seven Chapters. These hymns are the authentic utterances of a religious leader whose thought was way ahead of his time, and are among the most precious relics of human civilization. After so many millennia they continue to speak to us of an impressively austere theology and of an inspiring and easily understood moral code. Yet existing translations are few, divergent in their interpretations of the original Avestan language of Zoroaster, and frequently hard to access. M. L. West’s new translation, based on the best modern scholarship, and augmented by a substantial introduction and notes, makes these powerfully resonant texts available to a wide audience in clear and accessible form.

The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama

The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

by the Dalai Lama
Nearly every time you see him, he’s laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He’s the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What’s more, he’ll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that “the very motion of our life is towards happiness.” How to get there has always been the question. He’s tried to answer it before, but he’s never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we can easily understand. Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Together with Dr. Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Lorna rated it ★★★★★ and said, “There is a lot of good stuff in this book. I had it checked out from the library and I didn’t want to return it because I wanted to keep studying everything that The Dalai Lama talks about. We can really learn a lot from people of other faiths. Basically what I learned from the book is that our unhappiness is usually always caused by negative thinking and that it is possible to train our minds to replace these negative (or distorted) thoughts with positive ones. He also talks a lot about the importance of having compassion and loving kindness towards all people.”

Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron

Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron

Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

by Pema Chödrön

Start Where You Are is an indispensable handbook for cultivating fearlessness and awakening a compassionate heart. With insight and humor, Pema Chödrön presents down-to-earth guidance on how we can “start where we are”—embracing rather than denying the painful aspects of our lives. Pema Chödrön frames her teachings on compassion around fifty-nine traditional Tibetan Buddhist maxims, or slogans, such as: “Always apply only a joyful state of mind,” “Don’t seek others’ pain as the limbs of your own happiness,” and “Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment.”

Working with these slogans and through the practice of meditation, Start Where You Are shows how we can all develop the courage to work with our inner pain and discover joy, well-being, and confidence.

Illuminata by Marianne Williamson

Illuminata by Marianne Williamson

Illuminata: A Return to Prayer

by Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson’s bestselling A Return to Love ended with a prayer in which she asked God to help us “find our way home, from the pain to peace, from fear to love, from hell to Heaven.” Now, in this stunning new collection of thoughts, prayers, and rites of passage, Marianne Williamson returns to prayer. Prayer is practical, Williamson tells us. “To look to God is to look to the realm of consciousness that can deliver us from the pain of living.” Illuminata brings prayer into our daily lives, with prayers on topics from releasing anger to finding forgiveness, from finding great love to achieving intimacy. There are prayers for couples, for parents, and for children; prayers to mend broken relationships and prayers to overcome obsessive and compulsive love. There are prayers to heal the soul, prayers to heal the body, and prayers for work and creativity.

Williamson also gives us prayers for the healing of America, including two prayers that have had powerful effects on audiences at her lectures: a prayer of amends on behalf of European Americans to African-Americans and one to Native Americans. How, Williamson asks, can we expect anyone to forgive when we have made no formal apology?

Another section includes rites of passage, ceremonies of light for the signal events in our lives: blessing of the newborn, coming of age, marriage, and death. There is also a ceremony of the elder, for moving into midlife, and a ceremony of divorce, in which a gentle transition is provided for both the couple and their children.

“Read my prayers or someone else’s,” Williamson says. “By all means, create your own.” Illuminata is a way to bring prayer into practical use, creating a sweeter, more abundant life for yourself and the people you care for. “No conventional therapy,” she says, “can release us from a deep and abiding psychic pain. Through prayer we find what we cannot find elsewhere: a peace that is not of this world.”

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